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Senator Claire McCaskill threatens legislation if FAA doesn't reconsider 'dated' in-flight electronics rules

Please turn off electronic devices airplane stock (1020)

US Senator Claire McCaskill has joined many others in urging the Federal Aviation Administration to reconsider its limits on in-flight electronics, saying that she will take the matter to Congress if progress is too slow. In an open letter to the FAA, McCaskill called its policies — namely, a ban on electronic devices during takeoff and landing — "dated, at best" and argued that "such anachronistic policies undermine the public's confidence in the FAA," especially because pilots are increasingly using tablets rather than paper charts and manuals throughout the flight. "While the agency can and should use existing authorities to allow for the broader use of [electronics], I am prepared to pursue legislative solutions should progress be made too slowly."

McCaskill's suggestion comes a few days after FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski also asked the FAA to revise its rules. The FAA has faced increasing public scrutiny over the ban, and it's already promised to take a "fresh look" at the regulation, examining whether electronic devices besides cellphones might be safe to keep on for the whole flight. If any legislation is brought, it'd be well in the future, but this is yet another sign that pressure on the FAA from other parts of government is mounting.

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